How to Keep Your Child Reading in The Summer

No school, family vacations, and the great outdoors all combine to make summer a magical time for children. With that magic comes the risk your child’s steadily developing reading skills will stagnate in favor of other activities, leaving them at a disadvantage when the next school year starts. If you notice your child’s reading drops off during the summer, here are a few suggestions to get him or her back on track.

Combine Reading with Family Trips and Activities

Going to the zoo? Head to the library the week before and pick up some books on zoos and animals for the kids to read. If your child loves flowers, offer books on flowers, bugs, and gardening. If you’re going on vacation, use books and the internet to build excitement and educate the kids on what to expect at the holiday destination. You’re forming lasting links between reading and activities or events the child enjoys.

Where Did that Book Come from?

Before summer vacation, pick up a few books you know your child will be interested in. Leave them scattered around the house, sit back, and see what happens. Kids are curious by nature-if they find books they’re likely to explore them further.

Use this same strategy for car rides. Producing a book when the ride starts to get boring can make a long trip less tedious. Be sure to choose books that will capture the child’s attention-personalized storybooks where the child is the star of the story will help keep small travelers occupied.

One Book? Why Not a Series?

One of the most wonderful aspects of reading is finding out what comes next. We’ve all experienced a book we just can’t put down, and anticipating the next book in a series can be torturous even for adults. Find a children’s series your child loves and ration out the books over the course of the summer. If possible, have your child read the same series as a friend, so they can talk about the series and speculate on what happens next.

Offer Choices

Reading for thirty minutes a day will help keep your child’s literacy skills growing steadily, but without new books or choices, many kids dig their heels in and protest. Offering choices gives children some control over what they read, and adds interest to what they might otherwise see as summer schoolwork. This is where your local library really earns its keep-a weekly trip gives you children access to multiple book choices, and the library may have a reading program to help keep young readers motivated.

Make Reading a Family Affair

Reading bedtime stories to children is a wonderful experience, and one that doesn’t have to stop when the child learns to read. Choose a chapter book and take turns reading every night. Families have read aloud to each other for hundreds of years-you’ll be continuing a fine tradition!

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